Cricket alive and well in BG PDF Print E-mail
Written by By KEVIN SHIELDS Sentinel Sports Writer   
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 10:21
BGSU PHD student Mahesh Pillai batting during cricket game. 8/30/09 (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Cricket is alive and well in Bowling Green - that's right - cricket.
For the past three months, two former members of the Bowling Green High School Cricket Club have been organizing and hosting cricket matches at what was once their home field on the corner of Conneaut Avenue and Mitchell Road.
There, each Sunday, Kapil Melkote and Dylan Stretchbery - the original organizers of the BGHS cricket club five years ago - organize a game of cricket with 20 to 30 players.
The players consist of members of the old BGHS cricket team, as well as Bowling Green State University students and professors.
"Cricket kind of died around BG when me and Dylan (Stretchbery) went to college," said Melkote, who is now attending Ohio State University. "But this summer we came back and just had this yearning to play cricket again. So we started organizing these small games with the old contacts we built in high school."
In high school Melkote and Stretchbery, now a BGSU student, were part of a club team they started while sophomores at BGHS. For two years the Bobcats competed in a league in Michigan called the Michigan Cricket Association (MichCA) in the 40-and-over league where competition was fierce.
"We got our butts kicked all the time," joked Melkote. "Here we are high-schoolers, playing 30 to 40-year-old Indian men, who had played cricket all of their lives. It was definitely a change from the game we played originally at Wintergarden Park."
Melkote, whose family is from India, learned of the game of cricket from his father, Srinivas Melkote, a professor in the department of Telecommunications at BGSU. The elder Melkote showed Kapil and Stretchbery the basics of the game when they first became interested, following the discovery of a cricket bat in the Melkote's garage during the spring of 2005.
"After that discovery, a group of about 20 of us would go play cricket everyday at the park with a rubber softball," said Kapil. "We played and played until we thought we could make it something competitive, so we proposed it to the school board and they passed it."
With the passing, the BG City School Board also gave the club the plot of land it owned at Conneaut and Mitchell where Rutter & Dudley Asphalt laid down a strip of asphalt for the pitch. A pitch is the rectangle in the center of the cricket field where the batsmen hits.
Today, it is still used by Kapil and Stretchbery, but now for more recreational purposes.
"We basically have formed a brotherhood with BGSU's India Student Association," said Kapil Melkote. "We know all the administrators in that organization and we e-mailed them. They sent out an e-mail to all their students, who all come here on Sundays, plus a bunch of university professors, just to play cricket here in BG where you wouldn't expect to see a cricket field at all."
Cricket, a sport mostly unknown in the United States, is the second most popular sport in the world, behind only soccer, and the national sport of England. It is mostly played in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Cricket is a game, whose basic concepts resemble those of baseball, but where a game can last anything from an afternoon to several days. To make their game a one-day event, Melkote and Stretchbery play a 25-and-over, six bowls version.
The group has also caught attention from passing cars.
"We have people who drive by and honk at us or stare at us because they aren't using to seeing cricket," said Stretchbery.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 September 2009 10:36

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